Roundtable #5 – Treme – More Auntie, Less Boyfriend Edition

We are a little more than halfway through the current season of Treme and thought it would be a good time to attempt discuss the latest episode, the season so far and the series as a whole. 

Image by Karen Apricot. New Orleans

Kerri: I’m pretty excited that we are discussing Episode 6 of Season 3, “Careless Love” (originally we were going to discuss the previous episode, “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say”). I thought that the episode did some really great things that we haven’t seen much of this season and some other things that I don’t recall the series ever doing in a single episode. I felt like this episode made really great strides in getting the season to point where it now feels like the stories are moving. For me, the episode had a fair amount of propulsive energy. I think that is often lacking in other episodes.

Jane: I agree, Kerri. I’m glad we are writing on Episode 6. I am always the first to defend Treme. It is one of my favourite shows on TV. That being said, it pains me that Episodes 4 and 5 really disappointed me. They were very one-sided. Preachy even.  Episode 6 is getting back to the Treme I know and love.

Kerri: To me there are really only two types of characters on Treme: those who live in New Orleans and those who don’t. The people who don’t are usually idiots. I really find that hard to deal with and I have felt like we had been dealing with that a lot early this season. This episode did away with that entirely and was just a nicely crafted episode with a true beginning, middle and end.

Jane: I completely agree. I really appreciate how this episode veered away from the clear-cut good vs. evil storylines. The characters don’t have much room to maneuver when good and bad are so clear-cut.

Katie: Good point. I especially found that to be true of “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say” (Episode 5). Annie’s parents were so obviously “not from New Orleans” and seemed to be speaking in generalities rather than actual words. Like, “But is Treme safe?”

Kerri: That’s exactly the scene I was thinking of, Katie. As excited as I was to see Isabella Rossellini, I was really disappointed with her character.

Jane: Ok here is my proclamation. My former fave Annie has finally begun to get on my nerves. Maybe it is because the Davis storyline isn’t doing anything for me. Or, maybe it is because Annie can’t sing. No matter how much I would like her to be able to sing.  Her parents visit really fueled my Annie dislike.

I was also disappointed, Kerri. Let‘s round these characters out, please!

Kerri: It’s sad, but she really can’t sing. And no one really comments on it.

The one thing I do find interesting with Annie this season is her movement away from Davis. Like, in order to do what she needs to do she will have to leave him. And, of course, he is part of the reason she is who she now is.

Katie: I’m glad you said that about Annie. No, she isn’t a great singer and also, those aren’t her songs. Not really. She seems to be getting ahead of herself.

I realize what irks me. Annie is headed for a fall and I can’t forgive her for that. She’s getting in over her head with this recording contract because she doesn’t have any new songs ready.

Kerri: I’m actually kind of looking forward to that, Katie. Not that I hate the character, I just feel like that might finally make her a bit more fully formed.

Now, to be fair, this season does include a non-New Orleans character that does away with my above assertion: L.P. Everett, the investigative reporter and metal-head who has become one of my favorite characters.

Katie: The introduction of L.P. has brought the introduction of different types of music to the show. This episode included an extended metal sequence, which at first I kind of hated. I thought, “Why are they bothering with this?” But then, that’s what people who don’t like jazz must think every episode.

What are you ladies thinking of Sonny’s character this season?

Jane: I don’t usually care for Sonny’s storylines but the beginning of this episode was possibly the best solo “car chase“ sequence in TV history. I will also say that his performance in this episode was understated and vulnerable and I felt for him for the first time in three seasons.

Kerri: Before last episode I would have said, “meh”, but my goodness was the stuff they did with him beautiful.

The Sonny stuff in that episode was actually my favorite part and I don’t think I have ever said that about an episode of Treme before. They did so much with so few words. They told the story of the aftermath of Sonny’s downfall in one episode pretty effectively and I loved the way his story bookended the episode. The opening sequence of him trying to catch the boat was fantastic. I’m so glad you liked it too, Jane!

Katie: And the stuff with the stripper was tragic. Saddest sex ever.

Kerri: The sex sounds were so, so, so depressingly disgusting.

Jane: I was honestly on the edge of my seat during that opening car sequence. Which says a lot because I could usually care less about Sonny.

Can I also say that I’m really enjoying Desiree’s (Phyllis LeBlanc’s) performance this season. She is able to break away from her usual plight as the stick-in-the-mud wife of charismatic musician Antoine Batiste (ya, she is being cheated on but Antoine is just so darn charming, right?) and come into her own as a fiery advocate for her mother and her neighborhood.  She seems like such a pushover where Antoine is concerned it is nice to see her standing up to NOAH.

Katie: The opening scene from “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say” was incredible with her watching her mother’s house be demolished.

Kerri: I was just going to comment on how much I absolutely love Desiree this season.

Katie: Her voice at that moment was totally different than I’ve ever heard an actor’s voice. “They did it. They did it Antoine.”

Jane: I’m thrilled Desiree is finally able to come into her own. What a powerhouse performance!

Kerri: And she is also allowed to be just as funny as Antoine. They are such a great TV couple despite their issues.

Jane: I agree, Kerri!

Kerri: I’d say Desiree is the unsung hero of the show this season for me.

Jane: Speaking of couples, my new favorite Treme pairing is LaDonna and Albert. I’m not sure what is going on between them but it is darn fascinating to watch. They have chemistry in spades!

Kerri: Yes, Jane. That scene with LaDonna watching Albert was amazing. I feel like LaDonna is never truly happy but watching Albert gets her close.

Katie: Can we really discuss “Careless Love” without mentioning the performance by Fats Domino?

The moment Fats started singing “Blueberry Hill”, barely opening his mouth, I actually started to tear up. His voice is still perfect.

Kerri: That may have been the single coolest performance on the show. It was so weird and wonderful.

Jane: I agree! The musical sequences on Treme are second to none.

Katie: It was a nice story point too, that Fats didn’t agree to be in Davis’s opera. That storyline doesn’t quite make sense to me… How is Davis getting so many people? The setback grounded the story a bit.

Kerri: But is Davis getting that many people? A lot of people seem to be refusing…I’m a bit confused by that storyline too.

Jane: I guess I bought that people come out to support Davis because he is so charismatic and he has the radio to promote himself, I feel like people would come out to support.

Kerri: Going back to wild and wonderful pairings on Treme, Jane, it is time to play the first part of our game. Name two characters who haven’t already been paired together, that you would like to see spend some time with each other.

Jane: Holy fantasy question! I am going to go with Janette and Antoine. I’d like to see them eat food and listen to music together. And argue.

Kerri: Delicious!

I’d love it if L.P. and Desiree got together to do some investigating…

Katie: This is cruel, but I want to see Sofia Bernette get into a little trouble with Sonny.

Kerri: That is a hilarious idea, Katie!

I can actually see all of those ideas working, as odd as they might be. Pairings on Treme never cease to amaze me.

Katie: We’ve already seen a bit of Janette and Jacques but I want to see more! I want them to fall in love and get their business into trouble. Yikes. I am a creator of chaos.

Kerri: I am the biggest Janette and Jacques shipper. I squeal with delight whenever I see them together.

Jane: Ditto over here!

Katie: I also want to see a sexy misadventure with L.P. and Toni Bernette.

Kerri: You might just get your wish, Katie. Although, there seems to be a bit of a weird potential love triangle with LP/Toni and (shudder) Sofia.

Jane: For sure! I also think LaDonna and Desiree would make great friends if it weren’t for that pesky Antoine : )

Kerri: Oh, that Antoine!

Jane: If he weren’t so busy helping the girl who can’t read, I might be angry with him.

Treme co-creators and executive producers David Simon and Eric Overmyer, actor Clarke Peters. Image: October 28, 2010. Kendall Cram.

Kerri: The second part of the game is this (and this might be a little bit more difficult):

I can never, ever guess where a David Simon show is headed. What is your best guess as to where we will end this season?

Katie: Second line for Albert : (

Jane: That is a tricky one, Kerri. I think something tragic is in store for Sophia. She just seems to perfect and content.

Kerri: That’s a good guess, Katie.

I have a feeling something will happen that will go over my head with the Nelson/NOAH storyline!

Ah…good one, Jane. I hadn’t thought of that possibility but that would make sense.

Katie: If Season 1 was about the destruction from Katrina, and Season 2 was about rebuilding, I think Season 3 will be the destruction characters create for themselves.

Kerri: That sounds about right.

Jane: That makes perfect sense, Katie. I just hope that the characters do in fact create their own destruction. I’ve been disappointed with recent storylines suggesting characters have been tricked into poor choices. I’m thinking of Janette and Delmond specifically.

Kerri: Absolutely, Jane. That’s an interesting point. I hadn’t thought about that but you are right. These outer forces are creating their downfall…

Alright, time for final shout outs!

Katie: More scenes with celebrity chefs, please!

Kerri: I just wrote the same thing, Katie! Damn it.

Jane: I NEED to give another shout out to Michiel Huisman who plays Sonny. What an amazing performance this episode!

Kerri: I’d like to give a shout out to a show that constantly surprises me.

Katie: Another shout out to Davis’s badass auntie.

Jane: LOVE her!

Kerri: And to please, getting rid of Sofia’s weird boyfriend!

Katie: Haha agreed.

Kerri: More Auntie, less boyfriend.

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